Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij (KPM) was founded by the Dutch to operate a regional shipping line in the Indonesian Archipelago. At its height, KPM operated more than 140 ships ranging from small vessels of less than 50 tons to large passenger liners exceeding 10,000 tons with services extending from the Dutch East Indies to South Africa to the west, Australia to the east and China to the north. Part of its fleet was based in Singapore. KPM's fleet expanded rapidly, but two vessels were lost in Singapore Harbour in the early 1900s - Reijniersz was destroyed by fire on 23 January 1907, and Djambi sank in 1909 after it collided with the Messgeries Maritimes steamer, Polynesien. With the increase in operations, KPM set up an office at 2-3 Collyer Quay in 1914, and a service from Penang and Singapore to the China ports was started in 1916. By around 1920, KPM had 92 vessels that operated 50 services with about 300 ports of call.



On 23 January 1971, construction of the East Coast Parkway (ECP) begins with the land reclamation of East Coast.




Woodlands Waterfront was launched on Sunday 23 May 2010, about three hectares were opened to the public for this first phase. A 700m-long cantilevered waterfront promenade was open to the public in November 2010, also brings visitors closer to the coastline. On 23 January 2011 was the official opening by Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan. The S$19m project took about two years to build.